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VDH: 16 confirmed cases of severe lung illness associated with vaping

The Virginia Department of Health released recommendations regarding e-cigarette use or vaping.

RICHMOND, Va. — Severe lung illnesses caused by vaping are on the rise, even in Virginia.

As of September 19, 2019, the Virginia Department of Health confirmed 16 cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette use or vaping. There are an additional seven probable cases in the Commonwealth.

In August, there were only 3 confirmed cases.

Of these 23 cases, the patients have ranged in age from 18 to 38. Seventy-four percent of the patients have been male.

The Virginia Department of Health said it's too early to pinpoint if a single product or substance is common among all cases.

Nationally, the CDC is reporting 530 confirmed or probable cases of lung illness from 38 states and 1 U.S. territory. While there have been none in Virginia, seven deaths have been confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon.

RELATED: Vaping illness count tops 500 as FDA reveals criminal investigation

The Virginia Department of Health recommends that people should consider not using any e-cigarette products.

People who use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms like, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever. Individuals should seek medical attention or call a poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 if symptoms do develop. 

Other recommendations:

  • Don't buy vapes off the street
  • Don't modify e-cigarette products 
  • Don't add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer
  • Children, teens under 18 should not be using vapes
  • Pregnant women should not be using vapes

RELATED: 'We have to put a stop to this' | Virginia teens fight to end vaping

CDC, FDA, and state partners, including Virginia, are combining information about e-cigarette exposures, results from FDA testing of product samples, and clinical testing results to identify a cause or causes of these illnesses.

Many patients, but not all, reported recent use of THC-containing products and some reported using both THC- and nicotine-containing products.

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